The “Efficient” Co-Pilot

By Col Tughral Bashir, Retd (50 PMA)

Colone (Retired) Tughral Bashir, Aviation, 50th PMA long CourseEditor’s Note: Col Tughral Bashir is from Avn. After the retirement, he has settled in Rawalpindi.

Back in 1981/82, I was posted in 4 Avn Sqn at Qasim Army Avn Base, Dhamial, Rawalpindi. My CO was Lt Col (later Maj Gen) Razzaq. One of the pilots in the Sqn was told by other pilots, before going for an out station mission with the CO, that at times the CO used hand signals instead of speaking when he wanted the co-pilot to turn or do some manoeuvre”.

With this pre-conceived idea, the officer got onto the co-pilot seat of MI-8 helicopter and took off having set the bearing for the next check point.

Pakistan Army Aviation, MI-8 Helicopter

A few minutes after take off, Col Razzaq put his hand in the leather hand-hold above the side window and tuned on to Radio Pakistan. After some time he moved his hand a bit to the right and the co-pilot turned right by some degrees. Again after sometime he moved his hand to the left, the co-pilot turned the chopper to the left. Having done that 4/5 times, he went way off course and got the due treatment from CO.

On return, in the mission debrief in Crew Room, it was revealed that the hand movement was with the music of the song from Radio Pakistan which was acted upon very efficiently by the co-pilot on the controls.

Those were the enjoyable golden days in the Army!!

Related Pages:
Humour in Uniform
Army Jokes (in Urdu/Punjabi)
Pakistan Army Blog (Retired Officers)

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  1. Lt Col Masood Alam (Retd) says:

    Interesting and nice one. These are stories in the Army life that make every one smile later. Regards,

  2. Ishtiaq Qureshi says:

    Tughral Bashir has always been an excellent pilot, his services for carrying heavy artillery up in mountains has always been appreciated. His sense of humour and love for greenery is still remembered by friends and colleagues!

  3. Major (R) Tariq Virk (53rd PMA) says:

    I do remember Col Tughral Bashir being in last term in PMA and I being in first term.
    Reading this article reminded me my old days…wonderful.

  4. Faisal Tirmizi, USA says:

    I welcomed Col Tughral and his team in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in 1996 when he was ferrying MI 17 helicopters from Russia. The weather turned bad and they had to stay there for over a week. My father late Brig S.M.A. Tirmizi had brought the first batch of MI-8s from Russia in 1968 and first Puma from France in 1973.

    • Col (R) Shah Alam, Avn says:

      I have said this often before but wouldn’t miss this opportunity to repeat that I hold your father in the highest esteem for his honesty and integrity. May Allah Bless his soul. Amen.

  5. Brig (R) Yasub Dogar says:

    Gen Abassi was our Term Comd & later Coy Comd in PMA. Later I served under him when he was GOC 16 Div & me in 2 Cdo Bn (SSG ). One of the best officers that Pak Army has produced.

  6. Brig (R) Ahmed Salim says:

    Shah Alam,
    I always enjoy reading your comments and admire you for your sense of humour among host of other attributes. Allah bless you.

    • Col (R) Shah Alam says:

      Salim Bhai!
      I’m deeply obliged for your kind comments and for locating something in me which I have difficulty finding myself – but glad you did. Stay Blessed.

  7. Maj (R) Rehmat Elahi says:

    I have the honor to read both of brother officers & enjoyed them to core of my heart. Well done.

  8. Heavenly music, obediently synchronized, shall we say?!!!

  9. Maj (R) Aziz ur Rehman (15th War Course) says:

    On reading about the co-pilot setting the bearing for next check point in the narrative, I recollect a short episode narrated to us by our CO, Lt Col Muhammad Iqbal ,during our YOs days in 1968. Audit team had come to audit the accounts of an army avn unit. The auditor observed that an aircraft had over-expended fuel during a sortie and the cost of addl fuel be deposited into Govt treasury to regularise the Govt loss. The officer clarified the position by saying that the pilot had lost bearing during the flight and hence the over-consumption of fuel due to extended flying caused by navigational error. On hearing this the auditor said excitedly that a Court of Inquiry be also held against the pilot to have lost the bearing of an aircraft which should be pretty costly item. The officer replied that it was not ball-bearing but direction of the aircraft after take off. Thus the pilot was saved of the wrath of the mighty auditor. God knows how the co-pilot ex 4 Avn Sqn has handled his loss of bearing while sitting with his CO.

    Another one : it is said that PPP leader Malik Hakmeen Khan was once travelling in a chauffeur driven car and at a certain point admonished his driver for driving very slow. The poor creature (driver) replied, ” Saab pichche sarak karab aai te gaddi da motion tut Gaya”. On hearing this, Malik sahib interrupted the driver and said ” koi gul nain, tut Gaya te bazaron Lai k nawa pawa lai naa.” God knows why this joke has been attributed to Malik Hakmeen Khan when he was a very sharp shrewd and witty person. May be it is the handiwork of his some detractor.

    Yet another one: Lt Gen Abbasi who had been Governer / MLASind during ex President gen Ziaul Haq regime, had come to Tilla ranges Jhelum to observe artillery shoot as CGS in 1978. The helicopter appeared over the visitors stand but instead of landing, veered to left. The host formation Commander and other present were surprised over this manoeuvre. After a circle, when he landed the officers asked the pilot inquisitively why they did not land straightaway. The pilot replied that actually they arrived at their destination before time and General Saab was very particular about the timings. So they went around and landed at the time given to the hosts/participants of the exercise. Brig Faruq known as Lala Faruq in army circles and son of writer Brig Gulzar Ahmed once mentioned that Gen Abbasi was so punctual about the timings that when he entered in the office in the morning, people would synchronize their watches. He would lock his official telephone so that no body could make private calls from it. Having proceeded abroad, USA, on a course, he brought training aid equipment for his unit to train gunners. And it is also said that when he was in PMA as Instructor, having had possessed Damler car, he would roam about in Skoda in order not to impose himself on other officers and avoid putting his contemporaries in any inferiority complex. Skoda car was cheap on price and was available on instalments.

    Sorry for transgressing from the topic.

  10. Col (R) Shah Alam, Avn (34 PMA) says:

    Interesting one, Tughral. I didn’t know that 4 Sqn officers got trained in telepathic communication and navigation :)

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